Scholarly EUs Assemble!


You must have missed my post up the page HERE.


I’m wondering what the basis is for the conclusion that:

“the precise reason it was described as permanent is because no one knew how long someone would live, and “permanent” is designed to cover the maximum amount of time possible here, no matter how long someone might live—even if they lived forever!”

Something to do with the context of such quotes? Surely the ancients knew that mortals do not live forever. If one has a permanent or life long membership to a golf club, who would understand that as lasting forever? The use of aionios in relation to the tenure of gymnasiarcs seems similar to that of aion in classical Greek where aion is used of such things as the mortal life of a bird or tree or man, or in the LXX where aion/ios is used of the lasting duration that a slave would remain the slave of his master, i.e. for his life (or that of his master’s life), whether it lasted for an hour or decades. But, perhaps, with references to the aionios gymnasiarcs quotes the contexts would shed more light on this subject.

According to your linked article gymnasiarcs “rank and duties varied widely in different places and at different times”. In Athens they were “chosen annually…The same name was given to rich epheboi, who undertook for a longer or shorter period, generally one month…”


<off-subject a bit: my post up above mentioned rationality as a gift of becoming a Christian. What I meant was along the lines of the quote by Lewis:
"“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

― C.S. Lewis >


@koine_lingua , do you think the Bible teaches arminianism or calvinism? Also, do you think the Bible teaches salvation by faith alone or salvation by faith combined with works?


@qaz - Well, qaz, the only issue is that stands as one’s personal, theo-philosophical issue to wrestle with (for or against ETC/annihilation/UR) and not purely or pertinently a theological/exegetical/etymological issue (as is being discussed/debated on this thread) unless of course we’re going to deal with theodicy, ya know?

  • Btw this is supposed to be in response to post 59 but I’m not so sure I replied to it like I thought I did. Kinda still figuring out the mechanics of the forum’s new interface. My bad, again.


It’s been a while since I’ve looked at this in particular, and a lot of my older notes are lost, but my understanding is that the older usage of aion as pertaining to “life” in particular (like its old, Homeric usage of “life force,” or “life-time”) had all but disappeared by the Hellenistic or Roman period.

Now, when it comes to the papyri – which is the main source where you’re going to find this discussion of gymnasiarchs, etc. – there can be all sorts of funky meanings for all sorts of different terms; especially when we get into stock titulature and idiomatic usage.

One thing I do want to point to, though, is this epithet aionobios that I think we find in some of the Greco-Egyptian papyri. This is used to mean “living forever”; and so clearly in instances like these, it’;s the bios component here which suggests life, and then aion its sense of continuity or perpetuity. (For an interesting if all-too-brief discussion of this and related issues, you can check out the 2nd volume of H. S. Versnel’s Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion, in the section that has the line “There are places where aiônios or aeternus cannot but refer to the actual life of king or emperor, although scholars have tried to contest it on the ground that this would imply an absurdity.” Some of it can be found on Google Books.)

There are other compound words where the first element here is aion. In fact, we have at least one usage of αἰωνογυμνασίαρχος, aionogymnasiarchos, itself! (You can see a couple of other similar words here.) But one of the other more insightful things here is the close parallels to the reigns of various officials being described aionios. We see synonymous usage of things like this, in the papyri and elsewhere, where their reigns are referred to as apaustos or athanatos or dianekes – words that also clearly suggest permanence (and having nothing to do with “life” in particular, in themselves).

And of course we could also mention that the exact same goes for other Jewish and Christian texts which use “aionios punishment” and “punishment” with the same other terms (apaustos, athanatos, dianekes etc.) synonymously.

In any case, back on topic, I know that at least one other text calls for the aionios diamone of the emperor. This may be particularly interesting if it suggests that the emperor continues to reign in perpetuity – as this would almost certainly suggest that aionios has a much more intense meaning here than the already intense διαμονή (the latter of which LSJ glosses as “continuance, permanence”).



If you will indulge me for a moment, I have a few questions.

  1. You clearly known Koine-Greek well, possibly many other languages. But, why do you remain anonymous? I respect it, totally. Just curious.

  2. What do you believe? Are you a theist, or a non-theist?

  3. What do you think of a) Robert M. Price and b) Bart D. Ehrman?

Please be assured, I am not trying to get an angle on anything. I am impressed with your posts on reddit a few years back, saw this thread and watched it unfortunately die until just a few days ago to my surprise.

  1. Oh I’m not anonymous; I’m just, like, no one special, and there’s not a lot out there about me anyways. (I’m not an actual scholar or anything, just a super dedicated hobbyist. If I were an actual scholar, these are the sort of things I’d be publishing, etc.: .)

  2. I’m a non-theist.

  3. I think Robert Price is largely a hack. I think Ehrman has done some good academic work, though he’s more of a popularizer these days than anything. I think he can have a bad tendency to oversimplify things, and I kind of wish there was someone else who was the main popular “face” of academic Biblical studies. Some of my favorite Biblical scholars: John J. Collins, Dale Allison, Jon Levenson, Heikki Räisänen, Crispin Fletcher-Louis, Maurice Casey, James Barr, David Aune, Paula Fredriksen, M. David Litwa, Daniel Boyarin, James Dunn, George Nickelsburg, Fernando Bermejo-Rubio, Martin Hengel, Andrei Orlov, Guy Stroumsa, Jan Bremmer,


What texts do you think support universalism?


I think Romans 11:26 suggests universal salvation of Jews. Less so Gentiles, though.


There’s also 1 Tim 4:10. And the verse in John’s epistle that says Jesus is the propitiatory shelter not only for us, but the whole world.

I was thinking of ordering one of Ramelli’s books, but it sounds like her scholarship is poor?


@koine_lingua please see the quotes I’ve uploaded here Aionios in the fathers what do you think?

Aionios in the fathers